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Stockton's rise in gun violence sparks community-wide 'prayer for peace'

The "prayer for peace" will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Stockton's Victory Park.

STOCKTON, Calif. — In light of the recent violence Stockton has been experiencing so far this year, a group of community organizations are coming together to hold a “prayer for peace” Tuesday night.

The community-wide event is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. at Victory Park on the steps of the Haggin Museum. This gathering is calling on the community to stop the violence, as five out of the 10 homicides the city has seen so far this year have happened in the past 11 days.

Mark Scott was a special education teacher and assistant varsity baseball coach. He was one of the first victims in the recent spree. He was just 31 years old and left behind an expecting wife and a three-year-old son. 

"No words can explain losing your child," Marvis Scott, Mark's mother, said. "Especially your own child."

Stockton police said through Feb. 21, the city has seen 10 homicides so far this year. At this point last year, that number was 6. And at this point in 2020, that number was 5.

“We need to come together for healing," Toni McNeil, lead organizer for Faith in the Valley, said. "When those numbers decrease, we don’t think that we still need the resources for gun violence intervention."

McNeil and other organizations in Stockton like the Kelly’s Angels Foundation are holding a “prayer for peace” community gathering, while calling on city officials and San Joaquin County to allocate American Rescue Plan money and resources to gun violence reduction programs.

Created by Jamie Guerrero, who lost his sister, a mom of four kids, to Stockton’s gun violence eight years ago, Kelly's Angels is a survivor led organization.

"We're trying to just let people know we're here, and that they're not alone, so they don't lose hope," Guerrero said. "And that's one of our biggest issues that we really want to try to instill people, that there's still hope, and there's work that we can do.”

Tuesday night's gathering is open any and everyone. 

Watch more from ABC10

Stockton community leaders speak out amid recent uptick in gun violence

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